For the majority of those involved in international development, partnerships between international NGOs and local organizations are key. The question is, what does it take to make these partnerships work? Moreover, given the power imbalances that often characterize these relationships, improving partnerships is a significant challenge.
To address this challenge, in 2010, 25 international NGOs (INGOs) participated in a survey to collect feedback from their local partners. Findings from the survey, conducted by UK-based Keystone Accountability, are available in this public report. One of the report’s main findings is that local organisations do not want to be treated as sub-contractors; what they value most is assistance in becoming “strong, independent and influential organisations.”
Since 2010 over 3,000 local partners worldwide have submitted feedback on 50 INGOs, providing information on what they were doing well and where change is needed to create more effective partnerships. Local partners are asked to rate international NGOs in several areas, including: financial support, non-financial support, the agreement process, relationship and communications, and monitoring and reporting. In addition to providing individual organizations with feedback on their performance, the survey includes benchmarks for each area, allowing organisations to see how they compare to other INGOs. In an effort to increase accountability to and transparency with their partners, a growing list of INGOs have publicly released their reports.
Keystone is once again running its Development Partnerships survey, and a group of InterAction members and European NGOs have decided to participate in Spring 2013. The more organisations that participate, the greater the opportunities for learning. You can learn more about the timing, requirements, and costs at the Keystone website.